-- Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk grabbed the Stanley Cup, lifted it above his head and pumped it like a barbell over and again as he leaped in the air. The moment he had waited 22 NHL seasons and 1,759 NHL games for had finally arrived.
"Well, you dream about this day for a long time," said Andreychuk, who has played in more games than any player never to have won a Cup. "It's taken me a while to get to this point.
Andreychuk has scored over 600 regular season goals, notched over 1,300 regular season points and scored 50 goals in a season. But he was playing in his first Stanley Cup finals. After Monday's 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames, a rush of memories overwhelmed him.
"I don't believe you can put into words the things that are going through your mind," Andreychuk said. "The years that you got knocked out in the first round. The years that you didn't make the playoffs. All the players you have played with, and obviously, my teammates. We battled all year long to get home-ice advantage, and it happens to be that we win the Stanley Cup in a seventh game in our own building."
Andreychuk, who has hinted he might retire if he were to win the Cup, said he wouldn't make an immediate decision about his future.
"I am going to savor this moment with my teammates and my family, and this is going to last awhile," Andreychuk.
When Andreychuk was recruited to come to the Lightning three seasons ago, it wasn't to lead the Lightning to a championship. It was to shepherd Tampa Bay's young players -- Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis. He was brought here to teach them how to become winners. He accomplished that, and then some.
"Andy tried to be unemotional about it," Lightning Coach John Tortorella said. "But this guy wanted it bad. Not to validate everything, you don't need to validate his career with a Stanley Cup. But the time he's put into this game and what he's done for this game. For him to get this done, he's pretty excited."
A Small Streak
After alternating wins and losses for an NHL record 12 games, Tampa Bay snapped that streak by winning its second in a row Monday. Hard to argue with the timing. . . .
In the finals, the team that has scored the first goal won all seven games. . . .
Referee Kerry Fraser returned to the ice Monday following a two-game absence. Calgary fans booed Fraser, directed chants at him and threw debris on the ice during Game 4. The fans' protest peaked when Fraser did not penalize Lightning defenseman Nolan Pratt for an apparent hook on Flames center Craig Conroy midway through the third period of Tampa Bay's 1-0 victory.